ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Austria


It has become customary for the editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and moving onto number #6, we catch up with Austria (ORF) who will be represented by Conchita Wurst with the song Rise Like a Phoenix co-written by Charly Mason, Joey Patulka, Ali Zuckowski and Julian Maas.

Conchita Wurst was born as Tom Neuwirth on November 6th, 1988 in Gmunden/Austria. The young artist had always dreamed of a career in showbiz. It all really started in 2006 when he took part in the talent show Starmania. In 2007, he joined the boy band “jetzt anders!”, which however only survived for less than one year. He first performed as his alter ego Conchita Wurst, the famous long-haired full-bearded lady, in the talent show “Die große Chance” in 2011. 

Since then, he certainly has not gone unnoticed in Austria. More recently, Conchita Wurst participated in the ORF production “The hardest jobs of Austria”, where she worked in a fish factory, and in “Wild Girls”, where a group of candidates had to survive in the deserts of Namibia/Africa together with native tribes. “For me the most special and honoring thing is that Austria shows tolerance and acceptance and I’m so happy to be this statement. I’m allowed to be the voice of their beliefs during this time and this really makes me very proud.”

“We, and not at least myself, want to stand for a society without hate and discrimination. And if I’m honest, I think everyone of the contestants should stand for the same, cause we are joining a very opend minded project, so they should be open minded too.” This is just a part of the exclusive interview organised by which could be seen on the biography page.

Austria has only won the Eurovision Song Contest one occasion, that being back in 1966 when Udo Jurgens who had already represented the country twice took the podium with Merci Cherie. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, Austria has not been as successful though noting that following a couple of years off, they returned in 2012 to mixed success going into the final with Nadine Beiler and then finishing dead last with the Trackshittaz.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 70%

Greig Watts: This one has already got a lot of press for obvious reasons, I am going to try and judge the song without interference from that, and actually I like the way it feels a bit Culture club/Boy George (funny that) to start with, and then it goes all James Bond in the chorus and 2nd verse. Almost has a Shirley Bassey meets Adele vibe, and actually im really liking the song and almost wishing it didn’t have all the hype around it as it could be a potential winner and the vocalist actually performs it really well, would be nice to just judge the song, but from my own experience in the competition its not just about the song these days

Joseph Zammit: Well this is certainly an interesting one. Here we have the mandatory gay/drag act that has become a staple on the Eurovision stage. This time however, it comes with a twist! The male singer in full drag, also has a full beard! Originality points all round!! Not much to say about this one because the music has nothing to it. Watch any James bond movie and you would have heard this song. It can easily be the new Bond theme for the upcoming Bond movie, ‘James Bond – Not a Close Shave!’ Also, on a personal note, can there for once be a drag act song which is not about self revelation and fighting oppression? All in all, a relatively predictable and unoriginal song.

Sharon Vaughn: Her voice is divine, and the song is compellingly appropriate for the artist and her journey. However, it does feel a bit Vegas and over the top.

John Scott: The I found the song to be quite effective with interesting retro elements. It sounds like a great theme for a James Bond movie. The song is a great match to his voice.



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